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2023 Le Mans 24: Ferrari Takes Historic Win, America Steals the Show

This was the most exciting 24 Hours of Le Mans in years and the perfect 100 year celebration.
via Getty Images

In a stunning upset, Ferrari won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time since 1965. Not only was it Ferrari’s first win in 58 years, it was the first time since 2017 that Toyota didn’t take the overall win. Ferrari and Toyota battled it out for most of the race in thrilling fashion but it was the #51 Ferrari AF Corse 499P that took home the ‘W.’ Naturally, since Ferrari won overall, it also won its Hypercar class.

However, it was America that stole the show in Le Mans. Despite being the 100th anniversary of the most iconic French race on the planet, it felt like America was front and center at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Not only did Lebron James serve as the honorary starter but two American teams were the highlights of the entire weekend.

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The #33 Corvette Racing car won the LM GTE class, marking a stunning end to its factory Le Mans team. GM has had a factory Corvette team at Le Mans for the last 25 years, so it was a bittersweet moment seeing the #33 ‘Vette win its class, knowing it’s the end of a very successful era. Heading into the 2023 Le Mans 24 Hour, the factory Corvette Racing team had eight class wins under its belt. Now, the team officially retires with nine.

It was also America that fielded what was perhaps the most exciting car in the entire race, the NASCAR Garage56 #24 Chevy Camaro ZL1. This year marked the first time since 1976 that NASCAR was officially involved in Le Mans and it absolutely stole the show. Driven by German racing driver Mike Rockenfeller, British F1 champion Jenson Button, and seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, the Camaro was a wonderfully incongruous addition to this year’s Le Mans race.

The Camaro placed 39th overall but it didn’t really matter, as it wasn’t actually entered in a competitive class. Instead, it was racing in an Innovative Car class all by itself. Essentially, it was racing as a test bed for NASCAR’s NextGen chassis technology, rather than actually competing. And what better way to test its capabilities than racing it for more than 2,400 miles?

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As incredible as the Ferraris, Toyotas, Porsches, and Corvettes were, it was the deafening thunder of the NASCAR V8 that attendees couldn’t get enough of. It was easily louder than every other car in France over the past 24 hours and it was awesome to hear its American V8 firepower.

Between Ferrari’s historic win, Corvette’s final factory win, and a NASCAR V8 stealing the show, this was the most exciting 24 Hours of Le Mans in years. There couldn’t have been a better way to celebrate the centenary of the most iconic endurance race in history.

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